The teacher’s pet

I don’t know much about my father’s school days, other than his story about the nuns in the Catholic school rapping the knuckles of kids with a ruler if they misbehaved. I’m not sure how much my father learned during those years, but as an adult, he was always educating himself through his lifelong love of reading.

My mother enjoyed her school days. Perhaps that was because school wasn’t a given for farm families living in rural communities near the Great Smoky mountains. Many kids were pulled out early or for periods of time to help with the crops. My grandparents did not consider education to be a luxury and instilled the importance of learning in their children. My mother was an eager student and was forever grateful that her parents supported her desire for a good education.

Mom school

Just like you would read in a book, my mom’s early school days consisted on a “one-room” schoolhouse that had different corners for each grade. It was a very different educational experience than the massive schools that kids attend nowadays.

A teacher asked my mother if she wanted to pose for a photo project, and she agreed. My mother always received top marks on penmanship, and she liked this photo because it illustrates prominently that she was left-handed. My grandmother was apparently punished for showing left-handed tendencies when she began school, as it was considered to be “evil” so she was forced to adapt to writing right-handed.

Mom’s love of writing continued throughout her life, as she loved to pen letters to friends and family. She also used “old school” ways to keep learning as an adult, such as opening the dictionary to a random word she was not familiar with to expand her vocabulary. I remember her doing this daily as a child.

Perhaps that is where I got my love for words!


Filed under Memories

2 responses to “The teacher’s pet

  1. This is a great post, and I’m glad you’re talking about your mom. My dad was/is much like yours, educating himself through reading. I got that from my dad, too. It seems both of your parents loved to learn in adulthood. I can’t say the same about my mom. What’s a nice way to say this … she’s naive in the way of education? That’s all I’ll say about that.

    Oh yeah, my mom’s brother was supposed to be left handed. They did believe it was evil for him, too, and they would hit his left hand every time he tried to use it, so he became right handed. Very cruel and barbaric.

    Love that you have that photo of your mom.

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